The testament of a disillusioned economist
This is my testament. My economic testimony. It’s been 12 years now that I’ve been analysing the crisis. All in all, I’ve been writing about the economy and finance for thirty years. However, it’s from 2007 that I’ve been trying tirelessly, through my books and my articles, to denounce what has come to be known as neoliberalism, and what is in fact nothing but an amalgam of selfishness, insufficient regulations, negligence of the highest order, and insatiable appetites, among others. What sparked these analyses and my writings was a trip to the US right at the start of 2007 and the arrival of a virulent crisis called the “subprime” crisis that was infecting step by step whole swathes of the economy, whole regions, with no discrimination. What really set things in motion was my return to France, to this country that was still wallowing (along with the rest of Europe) in a confusing naivety, ignoring the drama that was playing out across the Atlantic (for those who were vaguely aware of it), imagining that the crisis would remain “over there”. It was a pitiful time, when a certain Nicholas Sarkozy, freshly elected president, declared that he would “go looking for growth with teeth” when he should have been directing all efforts and mobilising all resources, from Spring 2007 and without delay, to attenuating the cyclone effects that would inevitably hit Europe.
It had all already been written. It was predictable, like Europe’s disaster a few years later, admittedly sparked by the embers of the subprimes, but that was inevitable in light of what I have called the “original sin” of a euro founded on an exclusively mercantile basis. But, as you well know, my esteemed reader, these aberrations are still not being addressed or corrected by our illustrious thinkers of economic science, and even less so by the elected officials who lead us and whose training and education in this subject leave us to fear the worst for the future of our great macroeconomic, and therefore political, equilibriums. Our countries, and we the people, will not be able to put up with the consequences of another crisis that will – no doubt – be of unprecedented brutality and that will this time finish off capitalism, having nearly toppled not too long ago. I was there, I am a privileged witness of the 1987 crisis (stock market crash), that of 1997 (Asian crisis), that of 2001 (technology and stock market bankruptcies), that of 2007 (subprimes), that of 2008 (credit crunch), and that of 2010 (beginning of the European sovereign debt crisis).
It is therefore time to react, to get informed, to learn, because the tools are there: you just have to take a look at them to make use of them. Not to bring neoliberalism down, or necessarily to flatten out inequalities, both things merely being the result of our leaders’ carelessness, but to leave our children with a better future and so that we can finally live well off our work. This is therefore my testament because I do not wish to be present for what will be the series finale. And because I have the overwhelming feeling – not to shout into the wind as I do not claim in any way to possess the inherent scientific knowledge – but I am almost certain about the total absence of motivation of a great majority of you to act, because there is even just a modicum of what they believe in that is a formula that works, that has of course sometimes had its failings but that, in balance, fillsits share of the market. A testament is by nature a donation: you can do what you want with it, dear reader, but you cannot say we didn’t warn you.